When people ask what I do for a living, they assume two things. Firstly, that I only work with wealthy clients and secondly, that I spend most of my time finding special occasion outfits. Not so.
I work with savvy people who don’t have money to waste on clothes they won’t wear. It’s my job to ensure they have a selection of well chosen pieces that they can dress up, or down, depending on the occasion.
So, when a party invitation hits the doormat (or inbox) I endeavour to remind myself and others of the old adage “Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothing”. For this is where expensive mistakes are made.
As I write, I’m planning a party outfit for myself. The dress code is smart casual. The only new piece I might add to the black Whistles jumpsuit I bought three years ago; soft-gold clutch bag purchased in the summer sales and existing shoes, is a Ted Baker printed cape. Before it’s allowed to come to the party it will have to earn its place. It will have to fit perfectly, be flattering, work with the jumpsuit, as well as go with at least two other things already in my wardrobe. So, before you head to the shops open your wardrobe door and your mind and see what you already own that you can restyle.
Jumpsuits make great contemporary party wear and this one by Ted Baker in rich ox blood (£149) is perfect for desk-to-dinner dressing. Team with a longline blazer and some ankle boots by day and switch to heels and a tux jacket for night.
And Other Stories (stories.com) have some fabulous party wear. This classic androgynous style tuxedo jacket (£165) would look chic worn with any of the pieces on this page.
ASOS Premium also has some great pieces, including this nude structured jumpsuit (£50) and ‘Downton inspired’ embellished floral print column dress (£75). Both would also team up with lighter pieces, for a spring, or summer, wedding.
Add a touch of luxe to an existing pair of black trousers with this soft velour wrap- around blouse (£48). It’s a great piece for someone with a curvy bust and to make it look even more high-end add a beautiful brooch, or necklace. You would have this one by Max Mara (£215) forever.
Cocktail rings are great for parties, sparkling as you bring up your hand to sip your drink. JCrew do great costume jewellery like this enamel and crystal ring (£48).
Ted Baker is King of Party and has apparently been globetrotting around the Far East to bring opulent prints such as this embroidered Imoen dress (£229).
Add a pair of black suede heels like these Eve suede wraparound sling backs from Hobbs (£169) and you’re good to go. Merry Christmas everyone!